How do changes taking place in the Supreme Court affect the lives of all Americans?
The Supreme Court of the United States is now in session--with a brand-new leader. John O. Roberts Jr. was recently sworn in as the 17th chief justice.
The Supreme Court is the highest court in the nation. The Court is made up of nine judges--eight associate justices and one chief justice. Justices are appointed for life. The retirement or death of a justice can create an opening on the Supreme Court.
President George W. Bush originally nominated, or chose, Roberts to replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. O'Connor, the first woman justice, had announced in July that she would retire. But on September 3, Chief Justice William Rehnquist died.
Bush then asked the Senate to consider Roberts for the chief justice position. The chief justice is considered the justice with the most influence on the Court.
"One of the most [important] decisions a …